Internet Concerns and Healthcare Cyber Liability
Many people feel that having access to information via the Internet is a wonderful thing. It makes communication faster and easier, but at what cost? Liability experts cite a concern over growing liability issues with so much private patient information being accessible over the Internet. Those in the insurance business consider this to be a serious exposure in terms of cyber liability in the healthcare community.
In fact the concern is so great that many medical malpractice insurers are now offering physicians the option to purchase this cyber liability insurance along with medical malpractice insurance. Many insurance carriers in fact even offer cyber liability as part of their med mal policy.
The risks are real and apparent
An important part of a doctors risk management is maintaining privacy in the communication between them and their patients, and the Internet has now given patients a number of different ways to communicate with their physician or surgeon, without considering the possibility that this information can easily be viewed by someone other than their doctor and often for the wrong reasons.
Email, social media and smart phones are all great ways for patients to quickly access their doctors with questions, updates and other pertinent information. It is important to realize that there are dangers with having medical records online.
Medical malpractice insurance carriers that offer cyber liability insurance policies typically offer limits of liability of $50,000. Physicians can purchase significantly higher limits of liability for this coverage, and there is often a need to do so, however, they likely need to do so through one of many surplus lines carriers offering significantly higher limits of liability coverage for physicians, hospitals and clinics that have a greater risk.
There is an ever-increasing use of EMR
An Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system can be a great risk management tool for physicians seeking to avoid having to use their medical malpractice insurance; however they come with the danger of their patients’ information being open to cyber theft and other types of cyber crimes. Most healthcare cyber liability policies offer protection for the following:
- Electronic medical records
- Online scheduling
- Electronic prescription ordering, and
- Patient (and doctor) email breaches
The government encourages physicians, hospitals and clinics to put electronic medical records in place, and has even given tax breaks to physicians for installing these systems into their businesses, because the current administration believes easier access to electronic medical records to be important and extremely useful.